Wednesday, January 17, 2024

An Inside Look

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)

Our culture today is enamored with beauty. We elevate attractive people in our culture and give them a lot of attention. If God has given you natural good looks, that is a wonderful thing. Just be sure that you don’t neglect what’s on the inside.

When God sent the prophet Samuel to Bethlehem, Samuel knew the next king of Israel was among Jesse’s sons. And when he saw Jesse’s sons, and Eliab in particular, he thought he knew which one it would be.

But God told him, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)

God was saying that for Him, motive and intent are everything. He was looking on the inside. Meanwhile, Samuel was missing it.

Finally, Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” (verse 11 NLT).

“ ‘There is still the youngest,’ Jesse replied, ‘but he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats’ ” (verse 11 NLT).

In other words, “We have one other kid. He’s a shepherd. I don’t know if you want to talk to him.”

It’s important to understand that in ancient Israel, a shepherd was not a great position in life. We have romanticized the idea of shepherds because they were watching their flocks on the night the angels came to them and announced the birth of Jesus.

But a shepherd in those days was pretty low on the socioeconomic ladder. In fact, the testimony of the shepherd wasn’t even allowed in a court of law.

Jesse was saying, “He’s just a shepherd.” But Samuel wanted to see him. In walked David, probably smelling like sheep. And God said, “This is the one; anoint him” (verse 12 NLT). Then Samuel took out his flask of oil and anointed David with it.

No doubt David’s brothers were watching this and thinking that Samuel had lost his mind. There is no way this could be true. As for his father, Jesse, it doesn’t appear that he had a lot of love for David. When he told Samuel, “There is still the youngest,” he was speaking of him in a derogatory manner.

David later wrote in one of the psalms, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close” (Psalm 27:10 NLT).

Those who are rejected by their parents often become beloved of God.

Maybe you’ve come from a home where you were unappreciated by your parents. Maybe they never expressed their love toward you or even told you they were proud of you. Or maybe they showered their affection on an older or younger sister and forgot about you. And that has always hurt you through life.

I came from a broken home. So, when I gave my life to Jesus Christ, it was amazing to realize that I had a heavenly Father who loved me. And He loves you as well.

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